I pit the employer who flaked out on my sister.

I’m really pissed right now.

For the last year or so, my twin sister has been doing the job search thing while preparing to graduate with her PhD in biology. It has been a stressful time for her, what with a thesis to write and defend, resumes to write and send out, multiple presentations to give on her research, papers to grade, tests to take, and all the anxiety that comes with leaving school for the first time and entering the Job Market. During this time, she has had several interviews that have all gone well and seemed positive, but then something happens and the employers don’t get back to her. Oh well. Them’s the breaks, right?

Well, this last job seemed really really promising. She goes down to Miami and interviews with a professor that is looking for a senior technician for his team. The interview is light and informal; he’s already perused her resume and seems more than satisfied of her credentials, so he grills her very little. They go out to the Everglades with a few others from the lab and chat about plants and alligators. At the end, he tell her he wants to hire her. Boy, is my sister estatic. It’s such great news! A job! A great job! In Miami! After all these months of wondering what she’s going to do and where she’s going to be doing it, finally someone is giving her a chance! No more worrying about where her next meal is going to come from. No more stressing over her dwindling bank account. No more feeling like a stupid and worthless person that no one wants to hire. No more feeling depressed and helpless.

Flash forward a couple of weeks. My sister has tried to touch base with the professor a couple times by phone after waiting for him to get back to her (like he said he would), but it seems like he’s brushing her off. She’d sent him a nice thank-you message. She was polite and not pushy. Finally, after her hair turned all white and she entered menopause (exaggeration, folks), he decides to call her and tell her that he has re-assessed the situation and is interviewing other candidates. “Oh, I thought that the positioned had been offered to me,” my sister says. “I know. Sorry for the confusion,” he replies. Click.


Now I know employers can do whatever they want, but I just don’t get this. He offered the job to my sister at the end of the interview, so if the interview had gone badly why did he offer her the job? If she wasn’t what he was looking for, he should have just said so or used the “I’ll call you, don’t call me” cliche. If someone with better qualifications had applied right after the interview and the professor was more impressed with them, it’s extremely tacky to shaft the person you said you were going to hire when someone else knocks on the door. I don’t know what could have happened.

My twin has been on an emotional roller coaster this year and I really hate that this dingleberry has acted like this. She’s convinced that she is worthless and no matter how many times I tell that she is smart, capable, and will eventually get a good job, her heart refuses to believe me. I’m running out of things to say that will make her feel more confident about her situation. She’s really depressed right now. She thinks there is something wrong with her. Since I’m her twin, the empathy we share is strong, so I too feel bad. I’m venting here.

My twin sister is a regular of these boards. I will not give her name because I don’t know how she’d feel about that, but I’m fairly positive that she will read this thread. I hope that other Dopers will read this and be sensitive to her feelings, and maybe (even though this is the Pit) share some words of encouragement and hope. Maybe even humor. She needs to know she isn’t the only who has been through this kind of experience and came out victorious.

The guy was an ass, yes. It has nothing to do with your sister.

Unless she had something in writing, I don’t think anything was “official.” IANAL, so someone may be along to correct me.

She needs to shrug this off, and keep looking.

Been there, done that. It sucks.

I’ll take your word for it that she’s brilliant. It’s them, not her.

Some people are just assholes :frowning:

That seems odd. Just out of curiosity is there anyone who could be poisoning her chances behind her back?

I had a similiar thing happen when I was in college. It wasn’t as traumatic as your sister’s situation, as I was just looking for a part time job. But after looking for several weeks, I interviewed with one woman looking for a research assistant. The pay was good, the work looked really interesting, and I was ecstatic at the end of the interview when she said “You’re hired.”

She told me she’d talk to her partner about when was a good day to start, and call me in a day or two.

I never heard from her again. Voice mails were ignored. Not a “No thanks” not a “we found someone else” not a “We don’t need anyone after all.” Just… silence.

I was plenty PO’d, as I’d turned down some other offers because I had thought I had a job. But in the end, there was nothing I could do about it. Sucks though.

Hi, I’m the Asbestos Mango, and I’ve had an employer flake out on me.

About six years ago, I had been cut back to part-time at a job I really liked but only paid six dollars an hour. So, I started job hunting. I ended up being interviewed and hired at a legal forms store. The job paid minimum wage, but was full-time. At the time, I was living in a studio apartment with very small utility bills, so I could have gotten by, especially if overtime was available. As an added bonus, the position came with on-the-job paralegal training, so after two years of working there, I could have become a certified paralegal.

The next day I called the place because I had a few questions, and the secretary answered the phone. I told her I was the new hire, had some questions, yada yada, and she said, “No he didn’t hire anyone”. I got on the bus, went down there, talked to the boss, who apologized profusely.

It seems that right after he had offered me the job, his Evil Corporate Overlords had called and retracted permission to hire more help. He didn’t call me to let me know because the aforementioned secretary had lost my resume, and I hadn’t had my phone number long enough to be listed in the phone book, so he didn’t know how to get hold of me.

He did tell me that if I had actually shown up for work on my start date instead of calling and finding out in advance, he would have made a place for me and made his excuses to his Overlords. So, maybe I should have held my questions until I started work.

Yep, grade A jerk. As to why, I wouldn’t be surprised if his first impressions were great, and then he thought of something he didn’t like and backed out. He was an arsehole for (1) telling her yes before he was certain (2) backing out (3) not giving an explanation. But I can see it happening to someone who was just stupid and didn’t set out to be evil.

“If someone with better qualifications had applied right after the interview and the professor was more impressed with them…”

Or if the relative of someone with pull applied right after the interview - but yes, something like this is probably what happened. The consolation is that she will not be working for someone whose word cannot be trusted, which is a plus.

This shouldn’t affect her perception of self-worth and I wish her success.

Well, just something to consider - it could help with the job search.

Is there any chance that the professor checked your sister’s references, and someone gave her a bad one? On occasion I’ve been in a hiring/firing position and even if the person is great in the interview, and I really like them, if I get one or two crap references their chances of the job are shot.

Way back in the day, when I was taking a “How to get a job” seminar, one of the main things they stressed was that when you’re asking for a reference, if the person agrees to give it, the next question has to be “What are you going to say about me?”

Science is a political game (I should know - I work for a research group) - there’s no telling is a former colleague sabatoged your sisters chances - she should consider it.

I had a part-time job at a local franchise fast-food type restaurant when it first opened. There was a guy from corporate there to train everyone and the story was when he left two of the employees working there were going to me made shift managers. I was really good at the job and the owner and corporate guy pulled another woman and myself aside one day and told us when he left we would be promoted to the new shift managers. :slight_smile: We were pleased and redoubled our efforts on the job, learning all the little things like how to change the toilet paper in the bathrooms and making sure all the other employees liked us enough for us to be their “boss.”

Then the guy from corporate left. And the owner hired two guys from other restaurants to be the managers. :confused: Never said a word about it to me or the other woman. The new managers made it quite obvious, however, that they were in charge, not us little wimmins.

We didn’t stick around long after that. :mad:

My sentiments exactly. The guy may have flaked, but I’m leaning toward “something happened”.

Sounds like this isn’t the first time something has happened, either. She needs to seriously reexamine her references. Perhaps change them all.

Also, if she’s providing references up front, she might consider adding ‘references available upon request’ to her resume. Then she can tailor the references she gives them to the job.

Make 'em ask for them. If they ask for her references (unless they’re asking everybody they interview) that probably means she’s one of the top candidates for the job. If she doesn’t get the job a few times after providing references when she’s asked, she’s got to know she’s got a bad one.

I think the reason most people don’t think about this is that they assume (I certainly have) that if someone agrees to give a reference, especially an individual, that they would refuse if they had something bad to say about you. For them to be asked for a reference, agree, then give a negative reference would mean that they’re probably trying to deliberately sabotage you and your career.

I realize that there ARE people out there that nasty and/or angry, but I don’t think I know any of them, thank God…

Oh good, that is what i was trying to say up there, and clearly wasnt saying it right. She needs to look at her references.

If all the references are people whose lives she has saved, there is one other thing that might be happening–one of the easiest interview vibes to misread is the “we really, really like you and think you are funny and smart and are enjoying this conversation a great deal but don’t really think you are quite qualified.” Sometimes this even translates into “I am a complete wimp and because I like you as a person I want to see you smile so I will lead you to believe an offer is on the way but not really, no-how, no sir.”

I’m not saying that that is what is going on, but if she has a pattern of great interviews and no offer, this is a possibility. It doesn’t mean she is not qualified, but rather that in the delicate game of interviewing she may be working too hard on presenting herself as affable and intellegent and not so much on presenting herself as competent, and at her next interview she may want to keep that in mind.

No, you said it right - I was going to quote you until I read down the thread and found a later still relevant post to quote. I knew what you meant! :slight_smile:

Very good point. Perhaps a book on interview skills is in order as well. That and a book on preping your references for the phone call.

It occured to me - if she can get her references to tell her when they get a call about her, she can figure out who’s doing the sabotaging by who doesn’t tell her they got a call.

I would suggest having your sister find someone who doesn’t know her references call them and pretend to be a potential employer. It may sound a bit deceptive, but I have seen people get burned by references who swore they’d be highly positive. It may not even be deliberate sabatoge. Some people just don’t know how to give a good reference.

It could be that, or it could be other things. We recently interviewed people for an open position and had settled on one candidate. We checked references and everything worked out–until we discovered that my boss didn’t submit her request for funding correctly. She’d submitted it, but into the wrong compensation line on her budget. We couldn’t get it resolved and were left without funding for the position (which is a pit rant in itself when stupid accounting submission errors leave you with money in one area but won’t allow you to hire in another and why my silly boss can’t fill out a form correctly…) Of course, my boss wouldn’t admit her error to the candidate or she’d look stupid (yet another pit rant…). So she gave the candidate some BS about continuing to look.

Not saying that happened to your sister–just that any number of things could have happened that may have nothing to do with her or her qualifications. But, since it has happened more than once, I would do something about double checking those references.